Dr Sue Walker

B.Sc M.Sc. Ph.D.

Head of Applied Science

My research interests are aimed at providing answers that will lead to effective population management and long-term population fitness. I believe in the One Plan Approach, where in situ and ex situ population management effectively comes together and works towards protecting the world’s biodiversity.

I have worked within the field of animal reproductive science for over 20 years working within reproductive departments at the University of Guelph, Canada; Toronto Zoo, Canada; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institution, USA and the University of Liverpool, UK.

I joined Chester Zoo in 2007 building up our Wildlife Endocrinology Laboratory, became Scientific Manager in 2013 and Head of Applied Science in 2014. In my current role, I remain focused on answering questions related to effective population management, but I also aim to strategically drive forward Chester Zoo’s reputation as an effective and collaborative science organisation.

Partners and Collaborators

  • Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester
  • Insitute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool
  • Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
  • Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester
  • School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution, University of Liverpool
  • School of Geography, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC)
  • Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment Doctoral Training Partnerships
  • Manchester & Liverpool Doctoral Training Programme: Understanding the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Doctoral Training Partnerships
  • Thermo-Fisher Scientific

Key publications

Sanderson, J. L., Nichols, H. J., Marshall, H. H., Vitikainen, E. I. K., Thompson, F., Walker., S. L., Cant, M. A., Young, A. J. (2015) Elevated glucocorticoid concentrations during gestation predict reproductive success in subordinate female banded mongooses. Biology Letters 11(10) 20150620

Edwards, K. L., Walker, S. L., Dunham, A. E., Pilgrim, M., Okita-Ouma, B., & Shultz, S. (2015). Low birth rates and reproductive skew limit the viability of Europe’s captive eastern black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis michaeli. Biodiversity and Conservation, 24 (11), 1-22.

Yarnell, K., Hall, C., Royle, C., & Walker, S. L. (2015). Domesticated horses differ in their behavioural and physiological responses to isolated and group housing. Physiology & Behavior, 143, 51-57

Watson, R., Munro, C., Edwards, K.L., Norton, V., Brown, J.L., and Walker, S.L., (2013). Development of a versatile enzyme immunoassay for non-invasive assessment if glucocorticoid metabolites in a diversity of taxonomic species. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 186: 16-24

Walker, S.L., Smith, R.F., Jones, D.N., Routly, J.E. and Dobson H., (2008) Chronic stress, hormone profiles and estrus intensity in dairy cattle. Hormones and Behavior 53 (3): 493-501

Projects I'm involved in

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